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Jeff Mills is undoubtedly one of the founding fathers of techno music.

Starting out as radio DJ The Wizard on Detroit’s WJLB before teaming up with Anthony Srock in the late ‘80s to form the industrial-inspired Final Cut project, Mills met former Parliament bassist Mad Mike Banks. The two hit it off and soon the Underground Resistance studios came into being, fusing Banks’ keyboard and synth collection with Mills’ recording equipment know-how.

Out of this studio and collaboration came some of the most important tracks in the evolution of techno, soon to be enhanced by the arrival of a young rapper named Robert Hood. Performing in uniforms comprised of ski masks and black combat suits, Underground Resistance captured the revolutionary imagination of the dance world and built a huge fan base in Europe. A deal with the German label Tresor soon grew out of some UR licensing, and Mills later set up Axis: a label run by himself and Robert Hood. Mills hasn’t looked back since.

Whether it’s his ever minimal yet highly complex live sets, his rescoring of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis or his multimedia revisiting of The Rings Of Saturn, he always treads a careful line between dance music and art.

This interview was the first-ever Red Bull Music Academy lecture, held in Berlin in 1998.


3:55 – DJ style

11:51 – Early productions

20:33 – International clubs & crowds

37:58 – Minimal techno

49:55 – Transition to techno

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